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All applications to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s PhD in pharmaceutical sciences program must be submitted through the UNC Graduate School.



Review of applications begins December 1 and we strongly recommend that applications are completed prior to that deadline. Although you can apply until March 9, completing your application before December 1 will maximize your chances of acceptance and nomination for UNC Graduate School fellowships.


  • A list of required application materials is given below
  • For Question 2 on the application, make sure you scroll down the list until you see “School of Pharmacy.” In the dropdown menu for School of Pharmacy, please select Pharmaceutical Sciences.
  • Applicants must indicate only one choice on their application for their Division of interest or specialization. Only the first choice of Division (i.e. area of interest or specialization) will be considered on their application. Applicants should also describe this choice in their statement of purpose.
  • Being admitted to the Graduate School does not imply that you will receive financial assistance of any kind. The awarding of financial assistance is a separate decision.


Consult the Graduate School’s application instructions or contact

 Graduate School application
 Nonrefundable $95 application fee
 Three current letters of recommendation: When filling out the Graduate School application, applicants will be asked to submit the e-mail addresses of the recommenders, who will then receive an e-mail with information for logging into the system to submit their letters.
  Unofficial Transcripts
GRE test scores are NOT required this year
 Statement of purpose (see below)
 A current e-mail address (the Graduate School only uses e-mail to communicate with applicants)

Statement of Purpose

To assist in the evaluation of your application, please provide a concise personal statement including the following information.

  1. Why do you wish to pursue graduate study in pharmaceutical sciences?
  2. Why do you wish to engage in graduate study in this institution?
  3. What are your reasons for selecting your first choice of Division (i.e. area of interest or specialization)?
  4. What are your previous research experiences? Why was the work conducted? What did you accomplish? How did the experience inform your decision to pursue a PhD?
  5. What do you offer that will enrich our graduate program?  Please include factors such as:
    • Work, teaching, or other life experiences
    • Meaningful events that have influenced your life and career choices
    • Communication abilities
    • Problem-solving skills
    • Are you a leader, follower, or team player?
    • History of overcoming challenges or disadvantages
    • Cultural diversity (this may include ethnic background, race, and other attributes that define your cultural background)
  6. If possible, please identify the specific research areas in which you plan to focus your graduate studies. Is there a particular faculty member with whom you would like to work?
Prospective PhD students interested in research in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry or the Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics can apply directly to the School’s PhD in pharmaceutical sciences program or apply through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program.

The BBSP is a new, unified way for prospective students interested in pharmaceutical sciences or any of the other twelve participating graduate programs in the biological and biomedical sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to apply for graduate study. The BBSP acts as a common portal through which students begin their graduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. Students admitted through the BBSP initially have no commitment to any specific PhD program. At the end of the first year, students select a thesis research lab and join a PhD program or department (usually one of the programs in which their faculty preceptor is a member).

If you decide to apply through the BBSP

For Question 2 on the application form, make sure you scroll down the list until you see “School of Medicine.” In the drop down menu for School of Medicine, select Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

Note: You can apply to both the PhD program in Pharmaceutical Sciences and the BBSP. If you wish to do so, you must submit two separate applications—one for each program—and pay two application fees.

Applications from non-U.S. applicants are processed in the same way as those from U.S. applicants except for the following:

  1. If a student is sponsored, the sponsor (e.g., the U.S. Government, private foundation, home government, university programs) must clearly establish its financial responsibility and issue the necessary immigration documents for the student.
  2. In cases where the student is supported by private funds or has received a teaching or research assistantship, the necessary certificate of eligibility is issued by the Graduate School.
  3. Students who plan to use personal funds to finance their education must provide the University with verification that the necessary funds are available.
  4. A financial certificate must be completed by each international applicant. In any case, an offer for admission will not be made until the applicant has provided positive information that adequate funds for his or her education are available.
  5. Most foreign applicants must provide proof of English-language proficiency by receiving acceptable scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants from countries where English is the language of instruction or those who have received a degree from a university in the United States do not have to submit TOEFL scores. The required minimum total score on the TOEFL paper-based exam is 550, with a minimum score of 50 for each of the three sections. The average score for new students admitted in the last three years exceeded 600. Minimum total score on the TOEFL internet-based exam is 90.  The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted to demonstrate English-language proficiency. The minimum score on the IELTS exam is 7.